By: Brett Redmayne-Titley for Veterans Today
“Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote.” -William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Indeed. These are desperate times for the American voter. Desperate times call for desperate measures. You, the American voter have, it would appear, only a Hobson’s choice of one of three fatally flawed presidential candidates. Nope. A choice of the “lesser of [three] evils” is still a choice for evil. However, an exercise in creative thinking by the rational, intelligent and scared voter reveals reason, motivation and opportunity to stop the advent of the horror that is this presidential election.
It also reveals a very plausible plan.
In a mere sixty-one days after the election, on Nov. 8, 2016, the eventual president-elect can be stopped from taking the Oath of Office. It has happened three times before in US election history. However, this time it is the voter who can change the course of history. Every American man and woman, of every race, color, and creed, religion, ethnicity and sexuality over the age of eighteen can- this election- alter all US presidential elections, while seizing-back the reigns of a shattered democracy and Constitution.
Interestingly, deep under the rubble of what’s left of the eviscerated US Constitution lies an all-powerful shard awaiting to be used. Here the long-range wisdom and thinking of its authors two-hundred-plus years ago must now be fully considered and appreciated. The concerned reader will be pleased to learn that a treasonous Executive Branch, unanimously corrupt Legislature and a Judicial majority of bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court justices are not the only three Constitutional checks and balances provided by law to stop political tyranny, such as this election.
Welcome to the workings of the Electoral College. Use it wisely.
Reasons For Voting NO.P.E.
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”– Winston Churchill
Every American voter with a mind that still has the function of critical thinking and self-preservation- a presumed majority- understands two obvious conclusions: this election’s presidential choices are dismal at best and that the rabble willing to vote for them are idiots, if not, fools. This is seen daily in the rabid support for each of the three candidates; a support that strangely ascribes to willful ignorance of each. As proof, let’s start with a synopsis, if you please, of the only three “choices” for leader of the largest Imperial military threat in world history.
First, an avowed socialist promising a world of populist benefits without any US fiscal ability to pay for any of them, who again reiterates what voters already know is wrong with their government while promising the same “Change” that fooled everyone back in 2008. Lest we forget: the reality of the senator from Vermont’s conviction for said socialist changes was truly revealed early in 2009. Obama, after already punting a veto-proof, sixty-vote senate majority, wanted to pass ObamaCare no matter what. The last two senate votes needed were up to our current socialist offering and his counterpart Sen. Dennis Kucinich. Both grandstanded in front of cameras for almost two weeks, assuring Americans that they were going to bat for the one issue that was anathema to the Heath Care Industry’s huge profits; the “public option.” But in the end after huffing and puffing, as now he does daily in this election, US Senator Bernie Sanders showed the real strength of his political socialist backbone, the same one he is selling to voters now, and caved in while whimpering something about the “greater good.”. So, no public option. Hence, an informed voter might inquire; how are those increased health care insurance payments helping you, America?
Next up, we have a life-long corporatist who sold her soul for power and money long before teaming up with her equally scullduggerous husband. She now masquerades before voters in similar socialist clothing in order to blend in with all the sheep who are currently drifting towards the aforementioned socialist offering. After promising to clean up American Banks, Investment Houses and all manner of corporate crime, this candidate fails to tell voters that she is in reality corporate crime personified. After soliciting millions in different types of donations and “speaking fees” from these same villainous corporations, she nervously laughs off, without comment, factual documentation of her duplicity. Strangely, her supporters seem to wallow in her indiscretions, similarly ignoring the former First Lady’s prostitution of her character in having no qualms with her husband’s use of his female aid as the first-ever walking presidential humidor. Nor, his subsequent impeachment for same. Only time and multiple upcoming Dept. of Justice indictments will reveal how much voter “lack of trust” it will take to send Hillary Rodham Clinton back to her normal duties; shoveling money for the Clinton Foundation.
And last, but in this election never least, we may be forced to choose a failed-but-never-apologetic corporatist who is probably not a “rich billionaire,” revels in bombastic statements similar to passages from Mein Kampf and offers absolutely no details of any plan of action on any issue of importance to Americans, but does guarantee to “Make America Great Again.” This candidate has no plan, no specifics, no political experience, only promises of his ongoing greatness somehow subsequently smearing vicariously onto each one of his rabid minions. Yet, this candidate bristles with unbridled, hyperbolic vitriol whenever challenged. Thus, for the majority of sane American voters it is actually he, Donald J. Trump, that the intelligent voter would not mind seeing shot “on 5th Avenue.” Still, voters nation-wide scream, yell and salute their new hero like a legion of Hitler Youth. Somehow, despite Trump’s ever-reddening, pinkish facial hue, these voters fail to notice the enveloping odor of sulfur and his subtle, yet increasing protrusion of horns and tail.
But intelligent voters and the vast number of pundits who have been dead-wrong throughout this election cycle so far are realizing the harsh reality of this choice. Long-time political veteran, Kevin Madden, told the Washington Post he could never vote for Trump nor Clinton. “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience,” he said. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse declared that if Trump is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate.” Hillary was not without notable attack as short-lived democratic candidate, Jim Webb, confirmed he would not vote for Clinton either, suggesting a Trump vote might be regrettably preferable.
Here, like current voters, these seemingly intelligent pundits ignore the true potential power of the Electoral College. To intelligently use the Electoral College the concerned, desperate voter must vote intelligently and when doing so might consider voting; N.O.P.E. That’s…NO to this… Presidential Election (which of course is a nice play on the now useless political brand name: HOPE).
The Power of the NOPE vote.
“All we have to do is get out and vote, while it’s still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.”- Hunter S. Thompson.
Using the Electoral College, the power of an intelligent majority can again rest with the voters. But, they must vote. For, if one thinks this through, the NOPE vote already exists,
Everyone must register and be prepared to hit the polls on Nov.8 and exercise your right to say, NOPE. Forget all the blasé arguments about not voting at all, your measly one vote will now matter. When you vote as you must, be it in local elections or for state initiatives, you are thereby recorded as having voted. This is tabulated. You will not, however, vote for any presidential candidate on the same ballot, thus effectively and quantifiably voting NOPE. The results cannot be tampered with by Diebold voting machines because… NOPE, you didn’t vote. But your vote has been counted. You have voted NOPE.
Now… a couple of fun facts. In the presidential election of 2008, 212 million Americans were of age and eligible to vote while 169 million (79.7%) did register to vote. This statistic shows that 21.9 percent of potential voters chose apathy instead of voting. Of those who voted only 132 million actually made it to the polls on Election Day. That’s only 62.4% of all eligible voters, which equals, if one follow so far, over 80 million potential voters who have already implicitly said NOPE. Using the 2008 presidential model, these potential NOPE voters could have, if registered, been immediately a voting block of over one-third (37%) of the all registered voters. No third party in American history has achieved close to this percentage. These NOPE votes alone would be a formidable starting point for any opposition candidate.
Now, consider the aforementioned lack of choice in presidential candidates. It is safe to argue that many a republican, democratic, and independent voter would also prefer to vote NOPE. For all who are not looking forward to holding their noses as they draw the voting booth curtains, the air might smell a bit more promising with the option of voting NOPE. Added to the aforementioned 37% of disaffected voters and it can be objectively argued that adding just 13% of disgusted registered voters equals a majority, who have functionally voted NOPE.
Subject to these election night tabulations it can then be argued that the new president-elect is objectively, and quantifiably, not the legitimate winner. With this logic the agenda and administration of the president-elect and everything it may spawn is also illegitimate in the eyes of the majority that voted NOPE, This one result by itself can cause dramatic change, as evidenced in the United Kingdom since last year’s national election.
After the most divisive British parliamentary election in decades, the Conservative Party, despite receiving a mere 24% of the popular vote, somehow remained in power with a majority of seats in the House of Commons despite several terms of very unpopular austerity measures that they had placed on everyone but themselves. Strangely, fledgling upstart opposition party UKIP, with 4million votes and a surprising 18%, took only one seat. Since the end of the national election people across Britain speak regularly and passionately about the Tories not being a legitimate government. Currently, political discussion and protest for change are stronger than in any time in modern British history and the Brexit referendum grows hotter daily. Scottish independence is back on the table with support still rising.
Voting NOPE in this American election is just the first available political tool in this desperate call to political action since the NOPE vote would be a national means of tabulation. Tabulation of voter disgust, not apathy as would be the case with not voting at all.
Voters have been lead to believe that once the Election Day’s results are tabulated the matter is settled for the next four years regardless of poorly qualified, criminal or demonic presidential choices. In desperation, using the tabulations of nationwide disgust, the real majority of angry or seemingly disenfranchised voters must next look carefully at the fine-print of the Electoral College. Here lies the means to stop this maddening election in its tracks.
The NOPE Vote Meets the Electoral College.
“Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.” -Joseph Stalin
The Electoral College is not an institution but the process of certifying the final results of a presidential election after Election Day and before the prescribed inauguration. The Electoral College consists of 538 “electors.” Both the Republican and Democratic Party each have an equal potential group of electors available to their party’s presidential nominee. Cumulatively they equal the sum of each state’s members in the US House and Senate. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Voting for president in each state election procedurally amounts to voting for that state’s set of electors. In turn these groups of electors “promise” that they will vote for the candidate that their state’s voters chose. This, however, is merely a promise and not mandated by law.
After the presidential election results of Nov.8, the governor of each state prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of the candidates who ran for President along with the names of each of the respective electors of the prevailing president-elect’s party. This is sent to the National Archives, as the “Certificate of Vote,” and is readied for the upcoming meeting of Electors at each state capitol.
The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election, which will be December 19, 2016.The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their “promised” votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Each state’s electors’ votes are recorded on the “Certificate of Vote,” which is finalized at the meeting by the electors. Each state’s Certificates of Vote is then sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election.
Next, in preparation to certify the president-elect each state’s electoral votes are reported and counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. Members of the House of Representatives meet in the House chamber to conduct the official tally of electoral votes. The US Vice President, as President of the Electoral College, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Electoral College then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.
Deliberately, the authors of the constitution crafted this fourth protection of the Electoral College. According to the web-site of the Congressional Archives, “The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.” However, the term “electoral college” does not appear in the Constitution. Article II of the Constitution and the 24th amendment refer to “electors,” but not to the “electoral college.”
The 2016 US presidential election is a working example for the reason that this governmental body was included by the founding fathers. Correctly critiqued in the past as intended purely as means to protect the aristocracy from the idiot-masses, who occasionally have a complete lapse of clear mental cognizance in expressing their will to elect a president who is not in their best interest, this may now be used as the a formidable tool by the voters against imposed aristocratic tyranny of a future president-elect..
This process of the Electoral College is independent and comes after the national election. It does not have to necessarily provide the same result as the national vote. The reason is that members of the Electoral College, the Electors, who are each tasked with casting the separate, final and required votes that certify the choice of president, are NOT legally required to vote in the same way as the popular vote. So says the US Supreme Court. Really!
The Consequences of NOPE.
“Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.” – H. L. Mencken
Unfortunately, it is a foregone conclusion that barring an act of God (and boy, do we need him [Her?] now) one of the three contestants will be elected. But as the one finalist sleeps in the rapture of election night’s successful coercion, it will be then high-time for the fight for political sanity to begin.
Intelligent voters now empowered with the confidence of a tabulated NOPE vote and a quantifiably illegitimate president-elect must not give-up. They must turn their attention and efforts to influencing the result at the Electoral College.
This is easily done.
The Electors are selected during each state’s party convention, Republican or Democrat, and are usually just party affiliates being rewarded for their patronage with the privilege of one additional meaningless vote. However, the Electors names, addresses and affiliations are required public information. Being legally independent, in about half of the states there is no legal requirement for an Elector to follow the party line when voting for president. Of the states that do prescribe party loyalty, few have any legal punishment for abandoning the mother ship. Regardless, in most states the electors, when meeting to certify the election, must do so in an open public session.
Upon the tabulation of the election results, and before each state’s Dec 19 meeting of Electors, all the Electors might be personally contacted, informed and influenced by an outraged public majority that effectively voted NOPE. Each elector might also be reminded of two important facts: the president-elect is in fact illegitimate and that the upcoming public state meetings will be attended by those millions who voted NOPE. The implicit message to each of the 538 Electors; you the Elector must do as the law of the majority, the Constitution and your conscience require. Vote NOPE.
At this point, thanks to this long forgotten and misused fourth estoppel within the Constitution you, the American voter, have now created a quantified and legal political confrontation between the proven majority of voters- a majority that has had absolutely enough of this sad, terminal facade of democracy- and the tabulated junk food addled minority of fools seeking to allow ever-increasing authoritarian rule and corporate plunder for another four years. The Electors, who are now facing the facts, their consciences and the rising rattle of millions of pitchforks from dispossessed American citizens who voted NOPE, then have a problem.
And so does the president-elect.
However, the sound of pitchforks is an interesting sound since it tends to carry on the winds. In Washington DC on Jan 9, as the first state’s Certificate of Vote is read into the record in a public session of Congress, that sound can again be in the gallery that surrounds the House floor, just a few feet above. Next, what if, in using the procedures of the Electoral College, Alabama- going in alphabetical order- steps up first to the plate of history and instead of voting decides to … object? Yes, the States may also state their opposition to the president-elect on constitutional grounds. If so, the result is a separate joint session of congress to debate the merits of any states objection. Is there not a better rationale for this collegial objection than an indictment of presidential invalidity?
In the months prior, certainly millions more voters can still register and then get off the couch and vote. Certainly all voters can contact their states electors personally, by mail or internet. (This contact information will be provided to the reader after each state’s Summer-time elections) and certainly every voter can appear at their respective Statehouse for the Dec 19 public meeting of Electors vote and then at the public reading of the results at the US congress on Jan 6. But, if it is accepted that one of the three contestants will be the President-elect, what if the focus was put, right now, on this post-election process, All 538 Electors, in preparation for the upcoming meetings at the State capitols can be pressured to abandon party politics in favor of effectively voting for their conscience and for NOPE, thus refusing to certify the president-elect with each Elector’s optional vote? Mathematics applied to the gravity of this election, suggest it would be worth a try.
It takes 270 Electoral votes for a president-elect to be confirmed. In the 2012 general election, the total was Obama: 332; Romney: 206. This means, using this example, that if 63 Electors were convinced to change their vote away from Obama he would not have been immediately confirmed by the Electoral College. This is not as far-fetched as it might seem. The Congressional Archive reports that the Electoral College has in the past bucked the party-line or the popular vote. Electors were responsible for the controversial result in the 1876 Hayes v. Tilden election and the Harrison/Cleveland election of 1888. Of course in the infamous Bush v Gore, 2000 overthrow, the Electors failed to follow the popular vote as well. Only about half of the states have laws mandating party loyalty from Electors and, of those that do, no Elector has ever in US history been punished for jumping ship. Further, Supreme Court precedent indicates that the court would likely side with any non-compliant elector under the protection of the First Amendment, since the constitution itself does not , for the obvious reasons illustrated herein, mandate party loyalty from the “appointed” Electors.
Per the Constitution, if none of the three candidates gets the mandated majority the president must be decided in the House of Representatives. This has never happened. But desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. Rather than voting from the flames of an empire gone mad, would not a minute-by-minute ongoing national TV spectacle of a democracy run amuck in the besieged Houses of Congress offer the desperate voter at least the possibility of a better outcome? This spectacle, although a cacophony of democratic foibles, would amount to the first Constitutional convention since 1787. This may be the only mechanism left to save America from itself.
Consider one of just the three politically identical examples: what if…
Trump is elected. In Washington, DC, a majority of voters for good reason have quantifiably voted NOPE to “The Donald.” They are as fearful as the majority of Americans. Suddenly, at the Jan 9. Electoral College count ,it is revealed that Washington DC and its five electors, after careful self-examination and two months of a national protest on their door-steps, decide there is now left only one desperate option…..
So… the congressional “Teller,” now opening the sealed envelope so as to read the Certificate of Vote and its results on Jan 9, 2017, suddenly pauses before the packed over-head gallery in the nation’s capitol. He now, considering carefully the paper at hand before him, looks nervously about the hallowed halls of democracy. He bellows for quiet from the deafening sound of pitchforks rattling expectantly. As the din settles he clears his throat. “Mr. President of the Electoral College…” begins the Teller with a conspicuously shaky voice, “Umm…the Electors of the great district of Washington, DC vote…well, Mr. President…the Electors…they refuse to vote! All it says here, Mr. President…” and here the Teller waves the seemingly blank Certificate of Vote before the bewildered throngs of shocked congresspersons and newly empowered voters pounding on the railings above, “…all it says here is…NOPE?”
The resultant din of democratic turbulence would thus shake American democracy to its foundation. Next, it just might provide a new foundation to re-build this almost completely fractured nation.
Well, this unique but plausible parable of desperation-inspired electoral resistance, although conceptually legal and procedurally valid, will admittedly seem far-fetched when first considered. However, as based in the facts as shown it is offered here as something extra. Is this not the time, now, to feed the intellectual fires of necessity? Something must be done beyond the four year cycle of endemic apathy and fatalism. At this most-important juncture in American history- and its future- what say you, Americans? This is a presidential election drawn together from a collection of the very worst of all the many declining American values, now encapsulated in three divisive options.
Something must be done.
It is time!
About The Author:
Brett Redmayne-Titley began reporting on-scene in an effort to provide better quality reporting from current events of geo-political, environmental and moral importance. A life-long activist, political commentator and world citizen, he has published over one hundred in-depth articles, many of which have been re-published and translated internationally. He can be reached at: live-on-scene [at] gmx.com